GE, OneExchange letting retirees down
The fact that GE has dropped its post-65 retiree medical plans would have been bad enough all by itself, but the problem for GE retirees is made worse by the misinformation provided by GE, and the very poor performance of OneExchange, a service that GE retirees must use to purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance or Medicare Advantage, in order to be eligible for the $1,000 per person payment, GE is providing to ease the transition. OneExchange is a service of Towers Watson.
In their letter to retirees that announced the health care change, GE stated that the agents at OneExchange do not work on commission. This comment was apparently intended to make retirees believe that OneExchange would be providing unbiased information on Medicare policies. However, OneExchange is funded by the insurance plans they represent through a subsidiary of Towers Watson, Extend Insurance Services, LLC. Therefore, while GE’s statement may be technically correct, it is also grossly misleading.
OneExchange offers only those Medicare plans that have agreed to provide payment to OneExchange. CDPHP, which has the lowest cost Type F Medigap plan in this area, is not available through OneExchange. In addition, GE retirees have no way to determine if the plans that are represented provide equal payments to Towers Watson. If not, that could introduce a bias into the OneExchange plan recommendations.
OneExchange agents claim to be registered insurance brokers in New York state, yet they provide information that is contrary to New York state law. OneExchange agents, who knew I was a New York state resident and who stated that they were registered insurance agents in New York, told me three times that I would have to answer health questions and could face waiting periods for pre-existing conditions if I wanted to change my Medigap plan in future years.
The following website: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/que_top10/que_hea_medigap.htm shows that the information provided by the OneExchange agents is incorrect. Any New York resident can change to another Medigap plan or provider with no waiting period for pre-existing conditions as long as they were covered by a Medigap, Medicare Advantage or other credible coverage for the preceding 180 days.
OneExchange has provided post-65 GE retirees with a booklet titled: “Your 2015 Enrollment Guide.” Page 17 of that booklet discusses a Prescription Profiler, which the booklet states “is a powerful tool that lets you find the estimated annual out-of-pocket cost of [Part D] plans that cover your prescriptions.” This sounds like a very useful tool for people newly shopping for Part D plans.
However, as of Oct. 18, the Prescription Profiler is not available on the OneExchange website. OneExchange agents are unable to tell me when that feature of the website will be available. The same agents are also unable to tell me where I would find the Prescription Profiler on the OneExchange website once it is made available.
GE has given us very little time to find replacement insurance. OneExchange should have had its prescription pricing tool ready at the start of the enrollment period and it should have trained its agents in New York state law. Based on my experience to date, OneExchange does not seem professional or competent.
No response to gift an indication of why New Jersey is better than New York
I have been perplexed as to why our New York friends, upon hitting retirement age, choose to burn their bridges and move out of the state.
By contrast, our New Jersey friends, while scaling down upon retirement, opt to remain in New Jersey.
A partial answer came my way after I sent Gov. Cuomo a gift recording by The River Rovers of “The River’s Journey,” an ode set to music extolling the beauties of the Hudson. Believing it would be welcome at a time when New York is desperately spending wads on TV advertising to hype tourism and new business, I sent duplicate gifts to the directors of the state museum and the Office of Tourism. This was several months ago. I have not received one reply.
The three gifts were sent at separate times, so we can dismiss the idea that they went astray in the mail.
By contrast, when I sent New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie the same packet, noting that New York does not have a monopoly on the Hudson, by return mail he sent back a gracious reply.
Manners stem from consideration of others. Therefore, lack of manners translates into lack of consideration for others, including their jobs and other areas of life dictated by government.
I feel vindicated in my decision of months ago to support Gov. Christie over Gov. Cuomo should both run for president.